My summer ‘vacation.’

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Rebuild the house? Check. Do a new logo, animation, and station design for some nice people in Portland?


By the way, the KOIN Local 6 package was delivered completely online…no tape whatsoever…and was the first that I could watch premiere live from across the country, streaming from their website. Nice.

Oh, and I put a few more images up here.

Back to you.

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

A fellow Postie—that is, of course, someone who worked at the Ohio University Post in Athens in the olden days—made a cogent observation about the Republican ticket:

“Think of all the newscasts that feature the avuncular old pro who’s been at the station for years, teamed with the youthful, attractive female anchor,” said P.J. Bednarski. executive editor of Broadcasting & Cable, as brought to my attention by Chicago Sun-Times media columnist Robert Feder.

“He’s the cranky, old salt who tells it like it is and jokes he can’t figure out that ‘My Friendbook,’ let alone work that damn newfangled fax machine. She’s the breath of fresh air who humors the old coot and draws in the women and younger demos.

“My intention, of course, is not to demean female anchors or older male anchors; the May-December anchor formula is well known. He teaches; she learns.”

Well, exactly, Peej. And that adds a new level of understanding about what’s inspired the McCain TV spots post-convention. Think “news promos.” Maverickwitness news. A lack of substance and veracity…you can count on.

By the way, the photo above is of the troubled Philadelphia May-December (former) anchor team of Larry Mendte and Alycia Lane…you may remember her altercation with the city of New York and his criminal actions that started with reading her email and went further into bizarroland. Not implying that the Republican ticket will have problems like that…they’ll probably have other equally bizarre and entertaining problems.

Doing battle with language.

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

I’m all for the power of metaphor, but it seems like the folks who write plain old everyday news copy have learned somewhere to “enhance” their work by casting every news event in the terms of a battle, a struggle, a clash, a fight.

Barack Obama “takes it to” John McCain, “pummeling” him in his acceptance speech. Really? I heard a speech full of optimism, idealism, and hope. Democrats “ripped into” John McCain. I hope they didn’t spill anything vital…his VP pick scares me enough as it is. McCain’s been busy “ripping” Putin, Bush, Romney, Clinton, Obama…jeez, the guy must be stopped!

The Clintons “threw a one-two punch” against McCain. Biden, it’s said, gives McCain, a “blue collar punch in the mouth.” The taste of denim? And Biden’s been bashed, and he bashes right back, and I don’t mean a fancy-dress cocktail-party bash, either.

Throughout the debates, the candidates were said to “batter” each other, to “strike first,” to “take shots at,” to “blast”…what’s all this damn blasting? There are “sucker punches.” Someone is hitting someone else “below the belt.” Everyone apparently sanctions “attack ads.” One site asks breathlessly: will Hillary attack Sarah Palin? I think the Alaska governor is now getting Secret Service protection, so that would probably be thwarted. A disgruntled caribou might make some headway, though.

How can anyone from any party have a substantive political discussion amist all this language distortion?

But it’s not just politics. Hurricanes are personified as malevolent, sentient forces, “taking aim” at this coast or that, swerving, feinting, and again with the pummeling and battering. Tropical storm Ike “lurks” just behind Hanna.

It makes me think that the policy of naming tropical storms and hurricanes is a bad idea. Let’s call Hanna “Storm B329X5,” and see how scary it sounds.

Would news writers’ lives become that much more boring if they, uh, merely used words like “said,” “claimed,” “announced,” “charged,” and maybe even “challenged”? Those are words that could bring what’s really going on into sharper focus. It might not make for as compelling a banner at the bottom of the screen, but it might make for a less bruised body politic.